DEAD MAN'S SWEETHEART by Gillian Linscott


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 What better vacation from Nell Bray's travails of fighting for women's votes than a retreat to her surgeon brother's home in the Lancashire moors--especially when Whinmoor comes complete with a year-old murder? Davie Kendal, the nephew and convicted killer of gramophone engineer and recordist Osbert Newbiggin, is only two weeks from execution, but the deadline only spurs Nell and her sidekick du jour, dismissed teacher Rose Mills (whose presence seems utterly superfluous until a cunningly prepared denouement), to greater heights of industry. In this case, the original problem--digging up evidence that will corroborate Davie's claim of innocence--collapses when his alibi witness turns out so unreliable that even Bill Musgrave, the importunate attorney who'd urged the case on Nell in the first place, becomes convinced of his client's guilt. Even so, there's more promising dirt to dig--the news that despite Newbiggin's fanatical devotion to casting and recording The Messiah, his plaster Handel wasn't the only bust he was interested in. But how will the revelation of Newbiggin as a secret satyr help to rescue Kendal from the hangman's noose? Though the sketchy characters flit by like so many nameless spirits and the Q&A is often as mechanical as a gramophone, Linscott (Crown Witness, 1995) musters her usual ingenuity and her suffragette heroine's starchy good nature for the unraveling. Fans of the series won't be disappointed.

Pub Date: Dec. 16th, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-14579-9
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1996


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